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Groundwater is water which filters downwards through the ground to below the water table, where it is held in porous rocks. This water is in the 'saturated zone'. It flows through the ground (often very slowly) until it reaches a point of discharge such as a spring, a river or the sea.

Geological formations that contain groundwater which can be extracted are called aquifers, and are an important source of drinking water in the UK and internationally. However, not all water in aquifers is fresh – it can be highly saline. The porosity and permeability of a rock formation affect how much water can be stored and its ability to flow, and hence how good an aquifer the formation is.


external linkUK Groundwater Forum: Raising the awareness of groundwater

external linkBritish Geological Survey: Groundwater Science Research

external linkBritish Geological Survey: The 2012 Drought

external linkHydrological Outlook UK


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The UK Groundwater Forum

Use this site to find out more about groundwater and the issues that affect this important natural resource.

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Aimed at policy and decision-makers as well as the wider public, 'Geology for Society' outlines the importance of geology to our society.